Fab Lab of the Week: Maker Kids Lab in Toronto
This week’s featured Fab Lab is Maker Kids Lab in Toronto. Maker Kids is a non-profit center that gives kids the space and tools to design and build their own creative projects. From 3D printing to robots, the lab has everything you would expect from a makerspace, just with smaller chairs.
In recent years, the Maker movement has grown exponentially through print publications, web sites, events and community spaces. Collective community workshops known as Hackerspaces or Makerspaces have grown worldwide from 124 in 2009 to over 500 in 2011. We are at the leading edge, providing one of the first kids’ Makerspaces, empowering all kids to be Makers.
We started in 2010 with a summer program and school events. In 2011 we obtained a permanent space and renovated it extensively. Our Makerspace has areas and tools for woodworking, electronics, mechanical creations, 3D printing, programming, art, sewing, and all kinds of other crafting and making. It is a centre for ideas, inspiration and implementation – a resource centre for our community.
Our program relies on a strong volunteer base and mentorship by kids themselves. Our adult collaborators are facilitators for the kids, and also encourage them to seek out resources to learn on their own, and to teach each other. Teenage collaborators help the younger kids as a part of their high school volunteer hours, as well as work on their own projects.
Interwoven with everything we do is our philosophy to honour kids’ own creativity and trust their abilities. Kids who are confident in their own abilities are capable of learning and doing anything!